Northern Ontario Plant Database
Trillium grandiflorum (Michx.) Salisb.
En: large-flowered trillium, white wakerobin, white trillium
Melanthiaceae (Melanthium Family)
General: A perennial herb (forb), to 4.5 dm tall, growing from a thick rhizome.
Leaves: A whorl of 3 sessile leaves is borne at the top of the smooth, erect stem. Leaves are elliptic to broadly ovate, 12–20 cm long, 8–15 cm wide, smooth (glabrous), bases are tapering (cuneate) to rounded; apices are sharply pointed (acuminate); margins are entire.
Flowers: Bisexual; the single terminal flower is stalked, the flower stalk (peduncle) is 2–12 cm long. Sepals 3, green, lanceolate, the tip sharply pointed (acuminate), 2–5.5 cm long; petals 3, white, flushing to pale pink with age, oblong-ovate, 4–7.5 cm long; stamens 6; the single pistil with an ovoid, greenish-white, 6-angled, superior ovary, 0.8–1.8 cm long, including the 3 curved stigmas. Flowers bloom in May and early June.
Fruit: A single, ovoid, 6-angled berry, 1.2–1.6 cm long. Fruits mature in summer.
Habitat and Range: Rich deciduous or mixedwood forests. Trillium grandiflorum, is native to northeastern North America; in Ontario, it is found as far north as the Chippewa River Valley, Algoma District. Trillium grandiflorum is the provincial flower of Ontario.
Internet Images: The Trillium grandiflorum webpage from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers, a website of the Connecticut Botanical Society.
Read more about the different species of Trillium in North America at Dr. Susan Farmer's Trillium Website.
Similar Species: The nodding trillium, Trillium cernuum, occurs as far north as James Bay and is the only trillium in northwestern Ontario. Its white flowers, borne on a stalk (peduncle) that bends downward, are usually hidden beneath the leaves and are smaller than the flowers of the white trillium. In the North Bay-Nipissing area, Trillium undulatum, the painted trillium, may be found; it is easily distinguished by the prominent reddish-purple streaks at the base of the white petals, which form a triangular pattern at the centre of the flower, and the wavy (undulate) margins of the petals. Compare the Trillium cernuum and Trillium undulatum webpages from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers.
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